Zach Aston-Reese is a 27 year old pending unrestricted free agent that was moved to the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline in the Richard Rakell trade. Aston-Reese, often referred to as “ZAR” has 230 games of NHL experience and has only recently cemented himself as a full time major leaguer. This season, splitting time between the Penguins and the Ducks, ZAR played 69 games and put up 15 points in a bottom 6 role, while having an impressive +9.
As we talk about the idea of the Blackhawks bringing in low risk, high reward contracts, ZAR is yet another player in a long list of candidates that falls into this category. His physical presence is evident on a nightly basis, while adding a small offensive touch that can be utilized with the right systems, and teammates. The Blackhawks could be an ideal spot for him.
ZAR is yet to play a full 82 game season in the NHL, but the 2022-23 season will likely be his first. His next contract is likely going to be a short term, cheap deal. I would say in the ballpark of a million dollars a season, with anywhere from 1-3 years. In the case that the Ducks let him walk, which I can see happening, the Blackhawks could pick him up as a project to play in the bottom 6. ZAR knows his role wherever he goes and plays it as best as he can, which to me, has always been fun to watch.
The young centremen had a 60% face-off win percentage with the Penguins before he was dealt, and with the ducks had a 33.3% win percentage. His success at the dot is something plenty of teams will be interested in, especially for someone who likely won’t crack any teams top 6.